Weekly News via Email
   Set as homepage | Add to favorites | Customer Service | Subscribe Now | Place an Ad | Contact Us | Sitemap Friday, 01.19.2018
News Archive
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 2  3  4  5  6  7  8
 9  10  11  12  13  14  15
 16  17  18  19  20  21  22
 23  24  25  26  27  28  29
 30  31
Online Extras
Site Services
Around Bend
Outdoor Fun
Travel Info
Shop Local

Members Of

Poll: Today's Live Poll
Email to a friend | Print this | PDF version | Comments (0 posted) 
  Blogger |   del.icio.us |   digg |   newsvine

Dec 14,2007
Book Review: ‘Elephants on Acid – and Other Bizarre Experiments’
by Mark Sauer - CNS

"Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments" by Alex Boese; Harcourt/Harvest Books; 288 pages; $14.

Ever wonder if a dog's severed head could be grafted to another pooch's body and survive? How about whether artificial insemination could result in a human-chimpanzee hybrid? Do you think a gay man can be turned straight by stimulating the brain's sexual-pleasure center?

Of course you've never thought about such things; why would you? But somebody has.

These scientific curiosities and dozens of other truly weird experiments are chronicled in Alex Boese's astonishing and highly readable "Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments."

In deft and witty prose, Boese lays out the quests of a long, strange line of scientists - some legitimate, but many in league with Dr. Frankenstein.

Boese holds a master's degree in the history of science from University of California San Diego. He has put his fascination with oddities to good use in two previous books, "The Museum of Hoaxes" and "Hippo Eats Dwarf," in which he debunks urban myths and Internet and advertising hoaxes.

But the experiments in his new tome were quite real.

Many of the tests were harmless, if silly, seeking answers to questions like: Do the girls really get prettier at closing time? Why can't we tickle ourselves? Do elephants never forget? Is there a discernible difference between Coke and Pepsi?

But others, like the attempt to graft a penis onto a forearm, definitely fall into the category of "What the heck were they thinking?"

Among Boese's litany of the bizarre are the two-headed dogs of Dr. Demikhov.

Shocking news came out of the Soviet Union in 1954 when Vladimir Demikhov, a top Russian surgeon, grafted the head, shoulders and front legs of a puppy onto the neck of a mature German shepherd. The idea was to prove to the world the prowess of Soviet surgical techniques, with the ultimate goal being organ transplants.

The two-headed Soviet dogs - there were 20 such creatures in all - survived for a short time. But Demikhov failed to comprehend the severe problems of tissue rejection, Boese writes.

Not surprisingly, animals have played a large role in experiments over the years, and advocates for animal rights will no doubt find themselves disgusted by much of what Boese has assembled. The title experiment of the book is a case in point.

In 1962, two doctors at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine and the director of Oklahoma City's Lincoln Park Zoo tried to determine LSD's effects on elephants, whose large brains are close in size to those of humans.

They choose Tusko, a 14-year-old male Indian elephant. Considering the animal's bulk and elephants' notorious resistance to drugs, the researchers injected it with about 3,000 times the level of a typical human dose of LSD. Tusko trumpeted loudly and began running about his pen. Then he lost motor function, toppled over and died.

But Tusko lived on in popular culture, inspiring articles and myths and even a rock band, Tusko Fatale, who memorialized the creature's fate in song. The pachyderm now anchors a delightful, if sometimes unsettling, book that is best read with an open mind and an empty stomach.

- Mark Sauer, CNS
1410 times read

Related news
Rampaging elephants kill eight in India by UPI posted on Jul 27,2007

Group wants end to Israeli anthrax tests by UPI posted on Nov 01,2007

PETA pick up elephants' cause by UPI posted on Jun 12,2007

Biology proves a natural for robotic design by Scott_LaFee posted on Jul 27,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00 (total 62 votes)

Market Information
Breaking News
Most Popular
Most Commented
Featured Columnist
Horoscope Guide
Aquarius Aquarius Libra Libra
Aries Aries Pisces Pisces
Cancer Cancer Sagittarius Sagittarius
Capricorn Capricorn Scorpio Scorpio
Gemini Gemini Taurus Taurus
Leo Leo Virgo Virgo
Local Attractions
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau

Mt. Bachelor Resort
Mt. Bachelor Resort

Les Schwab Ampitheater
Les Schwab Ampitheater

Deschutes County Fairgrounds
Deschutes County

Tower Theatre
Tower Theatre

The High Desert Museum


Deschutes County

  Web    BendWeekly.com
© 2006 Bend Weekly News
A .Com Endeavors, Inc. Company.
All Rights Reserved. Terms under
which this service is provided to you.
Please read our Privacy Policy. Contact us.
Bend Weekly News & Event Guide Online
   Save the Net
External sites open in new window,
not endorsed by BendWeekly.com
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Add to MSN Add to My AOL
What are RSS headlines?